Rock star Ted Nugent told the world last week he has COVID-19. Nugent’s announcement was an oddity because he had previously called the viral pandemic a “left-wing scam to destroy” Donald Trump. Watching Nugent’s Facebook Live post, in which he repeatedly threw wads of phlegm and spat it out on the floor, I was moved when he described being so ill he thought he was “in trouble.” dying ”. But when he trashed the COVID-19 vaccine and warned people not to take it, I realized the emotion I was feeling wasn’t empathy, it was anger.
For most of the year, as the coronavirus racked up hundreds of thousands of American deaths, the flickering light at the end of the tunnel was herd immunity – the anti-force shield that occurs when a sufficient number of people have survived the disease or been vaccinated. against. “Go get the vaccine, America,” President Joe Biden said in his address to a joint session of Congress, calling the vaccine a “dose of hope.”
Friends don’t let their friends spread COVID
Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease doctor, suggested in December that if 75% to 80% of the population got vaccinated, we could achieve herd immunity by the end of the summer. And with herd immunity, we would go back to a certain “normalcy,” that is, indoor meals, theaters, and cuddles.
But collective immunity is disappearing as a quarter of Americans refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “There is no eradication at this point, that’s out of the question,” said Dr Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine research group recently. “As a society, we have rejected” collective immunity.
Hmm, no! “We” did not reject anything. A quarter of the country is ruining it for all of us.
It’s not just wacky former rockers who put collective immunity out of reach. They are white evangelicals (45% say they will not get vaccinated). And it is the Republicans (nearly 50% refuse the vaccine). In Texas, 61% of white Republicans say they are reluctant or would refuse to be vaccinated. You can slap the “vaccine hesitancy” euphemism on the problem, but in the end the GOP, and the children of GOD, are perpetuating a virus that is sickening and killing people in droves.
Much of the problem stems from the sectarian relationship that many Evangelicals and Republicans have with the former president. They absorbed his relentless efforts to minimize the danger of the virus and turn public health precautions into a movement for political freedom. But the time to analyze why these human petri dishes chose to ignore the medical science that could save them, and us, is over. We need a different strategy. I propose to avoid.
Biden’s highly successful vaccine rollout means that soon everyone who wants a vaccine will have one. When this happens, restaurants, cinemas, gyms, barbers, airlines, and Ubers should require proof of vaccination before providing their services.
And it shouldn’t end there. Businesses should make vaccination a requirement for employment. A COVID-19 outbreak can shut down a business and be financially devastating. And failure to apply basic health and safety measures is not fair to employees who have to work in offices, factories and stores where close contact is required. Things should get personal too: People should demand that their friends be vaccinated to attend barbecues and birthday parties they throw. Friends don’t let their friends spread the coronavirus.
Pro-life party: Where are Republican COVID-19 heroes willing to risk their careers to save lives?
As I write this, I can almost see the rebuttals from Twitter: “If people want to risk being microchipped by the Deep State, they can protect themselves by getting vaccinated without forcing me to do the same.” Nope. In actual application, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are approximately 90% effective. Sure, that’s impressive, but if roulette makes you one of the unlucky 10%, that’s no consolation.
There have already been several thousand documented “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 infections in people who have been vaccinated. Some are dead. And with the emergence of coronavirus variants all over the world, for which vaccines are less effective, we should expect to see more infections in those vaccinated.
Half-witty personal autonomy
Not wanting to miss an opportunity to flout common sense, Republican leaders in Arkansas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and others want to stop companies from demanding that people be vaccinated. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has previously issued an executive order that “prohibited companies from requiring their customers or clients to provide documents certifying COVID-19 vaccination.”
There are decades of state laws that require immunizations before children can go to school. There are seat belt and helmet laws, prohibiting texting while driving, and countless others that restrict individual freedoms to ensure the safety of the general public. Despite this, the need for vaccines to curb a global pandemic that has claimed nearly 575,000 American lives is the hill Republicans want to die on.
Are we about to hit a vaccine wall? If you have any doubts about taking the COVID shot, reconsider.
When states pass these laws, designed to tell private companies how to run their businesses, there should be immediate legal challenges. Certainly, while a bakery may refuse to provide its services to a married gay couple, it may refuse to bake a cake for the people who choose to place themselves, the bakery staff and their customers at risk of a fatal disease. .
As a country, America has become too tolerant of half-minded individual self-reliance that ignores the existential needs of the vast majority of its citizens. While writing this column, I grabbed a TV promo for a new documentary in which Cher helped save an elephant. It reminded me of his performance in “Moonstruck”. A hesitation about vaccines? We need Cher to slap us in the face and tell us to ‘get out of here’.
Michael J. Stern, USA TODAY Board of Contributors, served as federal prosecutor for 25 years in Detroit and Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @ MichaelJStern1
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Avoid the unvaccinated: Demand the COVID-19 vaccine to resume normal life